Commerce launches “ScaleUp” program to help small businesses grow

  • May 6, 2019

Free classes targeting finances, operations, marketing to begin in May and June in Mount Vernon and Yakima.

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council’s Center for Business Innovation, has launched ScaleUp, a new program designed to help established small businesses achieve financial mastery, operational efficiency and marketing expertise necessary to expand.

Patterned after the Thurston center’s highly successful program of the same name, the statewide ScaleUp course series offers business owners 35 hours of classroom instruction over five weeks (one seven-hour class per week). The focus is on performance, ensuring that participants acquire mastery in specific skill sets that will help them improve their business operations and generate additional revenue.

The ideal candidate for ScaleUp is a business owner whose company has been in operation for a year or more and has at least $75,000 in annual revenues.

State offers courses at no charge to businesses in first phase pilot

Two classes are scheduled to begin in May during the pilot phase of the program. Western Washington ScaleUp in Mount Vernon, co-hosted by the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, runs May 23 – June 20. In Eastern Washington, the Yakima County Development Association class runs May 28 through June 25.

Each class is taught by an instructor who has been certified by the Kaufman Foundation and has substantial business growth experience. ScaleUp is free to businesses during the pilot program stage.

“Washington’s entrepreneurial culture is a key economic driver, and small businesses are in many ways the backbone for growth,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said.  “We are pleased to have Thurston EDC’s support to model its innovative ScaleUp program for rollout in additional rural communities throughout the state, beginning with these trials in Mount Vernon and Yakima.”

“ScaleUp fills an important gap between starting a business and taking it to the next level. It gives small business owners additional skills that will help them grow their businesses more quickly and efficiently at the early stages of their growth cycle,” said Chris Green, assistant director of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness (OEDC).

ScaleUp is part of a new Commerce program that takes business owners from the ideation stage all the way through the stage where they are ready to grow through exporting, expansion or outside investment. This comprehensive set of programs, known as Startup 365, includes new business planning tools, resources, publications and online tutorials to provide technical assistance and education for business owners, particularly entrepreneurs who are new to the idea of starting and growing a business. These resources are available at the state’s Startup 365 website, Startup.ChooseWashingtonState.com.

For more information and registration, visit our website or contact our statewide partners:

Western Washington (Skagit County EDA): (360) 336-6114, website

Eastern Washington (Yakima County Development Alliance): (509) 575-1140, website

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